Monday, October 06, 2014

Cranberry Beans with Kale and Fennel, served with Jade Pearl Rice (No Added Fat)

I love cooking with cranberry beans.  I soaked a cup of them overnight and wanted to make a dish with fennel. On Wednesday, I had soaked some cranberry beans and was planning on pressure cooking them for 20-25 minutes as the main part of a dish the next day. However, I had a new Food for Life series beginning on Friday and was out with my daughter shopping (and then eating at the store) Thu.

The beans were patient! After being soaked overnight at room temperature, I drained the beans, covered, and stored in the refrigerator. They were fine for using today - I just rinsed once more then put in the Instant Pot pressure cooker, put enough water in to just cover the beans (keeping the volume well below the halfway point of the pot), then cooked on high for 20m. Here is what I made tonight.

  • One cup cranberry beans, soaked overnight
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • Water (just enough to cover beans)
  • Half head of kale, stems left behind and leaves hand stripped into approx. 3/4" squares (about 1 1/2 cups packed)
  • Half cup onion, chopped into 3/8" cubes (approx. half a small onion)
  • Half cup (approx. half of a fennel bulb) fennel bulb, chopped into 1/4" cubes
  • 1/2 - 1 t (or more) of ginger root, finely diced
  • 4 small carrots, cut into 1/4" slices (the carrots were smaller than we usually have and it ended up being just under a cup; I would normally use 2 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Small shallot diced into 1/4" pieces (approx. 1/8 cup); an equivalent amount of onion could be used
  • Approx. 1/8 of a small onion chopped into 1/4" pieces (approx. 1/8 cup)
  • 1/4 t dried oregano
  • (Optional) Hot sauce, salt, and/or freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Few fennel fronds


  1. Rinse and drain the beans
  2. Put the beans and bouillon cube in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and put in just enough water to cover the beans; cook on high pressure for 20m
  3. Let the pressure cooker cool down a bit (putting a moist towel on top helps) and then slowly reduce pressure and remove the top; in my case, there was plenty of time so I was able to just open the pressure cooker
  4. Add the kale, first onion batch, fennel, ginger, carrot, and 1/2 cup water and turned the pressure cooker on for another 3 minutes
  5. I let the pressure come down then slowly released remaining pressure, mixed in the shallot, second batch of onion, oregano, 1/4t of salt (I used the nice finishing fleur de sel that we just picked up after being without it for over a year!), and 1/4 t black pepper.
  6. I served the bean dish with the fennel fronds as garnish.
I also made Jade pearl rice with bell pepper and onion (first sauteeing the vegetables briefly and then adding about 2/3 cup rice and 1 2/3 times, or just over a cup, of water plus a vegan bouillon cube, and simmering for 20m). I mixed in about 2T of nutritional yeast and a little salt to the rice before serving. Heirloom tomato sprinkled with hemp seed completed the meal.

I like the hearty taste and heft of cranberry beans! The main course would have benefited from some jalapeno (but my daughter then wouldn't have eaten it; my wife and I added some hot sauce at the table) and ginger (but my Dad wouldn't have eaten it then). I wanted the fennel to be subtle, and it was - a bit more could have been used. The rice was, of course, great!

Ideas for the future

I would add maybe 2 chopped cloves garlic in the first (for a mild flavor) or second (for stronger flavor) pressure cooking, and perhaps 1/4 of a jalapeno cut into 1/4" slices in the second pressure cooking. A few more vegetables could have added to the flavor, such as perhaps pumpkin, squash, or sweet potato. Maybe some capers or even a bit of diced olive added at the end could have been nice. The rice was good - the nutritional yeast was a good addition!

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